What is Brand Heart?

What is Brand Heart? (Brand Essence)

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Are you looking to create an emotional and lasting connection between your brand and its customers? How are you going beyond the shallow interactions of day-to-day marketing?

The traditional approach towards marketing focuses on creating desire and awareness among consumers. While these tactics will continue to play a fundamental role in our strategy, their impact can often be limited.

For brands hoping to take a more holistic strategy, Brand Heart is emerging as one effective way of engaging customers across every touchpoint.

Brand Heart considers consumers' rational and emotional desires when crafting a unique story for identity, purpose, and even philosophy of life. Tapping into the real emotions which many seek from brands, enables businesses to build longer-lasting relationships with their customers which can benefit both parties.

Let's uncover what this rising concept is all about!

Brand Heart

The brand heart is the core of your brand that embodies its purpose, values, and unique identity, serving as a foundation for its consistency and authenticity.

What is Brand Heart?

A brand's heart is the core of its purpose, vision, mission, and values, serving as the foundation for all its decisions, including product development and marketing strategies. The essence sets the brand apart from competitors and evokes specific emotions or thoughts in consumers.

A brand heart is also referred to as a brand essence.

Brand essence is the customer-perceived intangible attribute that defines what the brand represents, giving direction to its overall identity. It must be concise, usually expressed in two to three words, and genuine. Consumers can detect when a company strays from its core identity, and this can lead to reduced sales and jeopardize customer loyalty.

Creating a powerful brand heart requires crafting a memorable message that encapsulates all aspects of the company's ethos. The message should reflect the brand's core values, mission statement, and overall raison d'être, resonating with customers and conveying what makes the brand unique. Words like 'innovation' and 'inspiration' can be used to achieve this.

By understanding the customer base's motivations and needs, you can express their brand identity honestly, connecting with their target audience on an emotional level. The brand heart serves as the foundation for all branding efforts, from logo design to social media campaigns and more.

Brand heart = What the company does + its value propositions + brand values and principles

A strong brand heart is essential for any organization that aims to build meaningful customer relationships. It enables companies to create emotional connections with their target audience, establish a consistent and authentic brand identity, and differentiate themselves from competitors. 

Brand Heart Is Emotional

The brand heart is not a tangible product or service, but an emotional feeling that customers get when they hear the brand name, interact with it and consume its offerings.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola are prime examples of how two companies can offer similar products to the same target audience yet evoke different emotions. Coca-Cola triggers feelings of happiness, optimism, and good times. It has a powerful influence on our memories and experiences.

This emotional connection creates loyalty in customers, who are more likely to purchase from a company they trust. You must find ways to identify their own Brand Heart so their customers will form an emotional bond with them.

Building this emotional connection is essential for any business to succeed in today's competitive market.

Brand Heart Is Holistic

A brand heart is holistic and goes beyond the physical product or service; it's about what a brand stands for, how it makes people feel, and the emotions it evokes. It's the heart of the brand that connects with people in a meaningful way. Every element of the brand—from its logo to its mission statement—must be carefully crafted to express this heart.

By getting to know your customers on an emotional level, you can create a connection that will inspire loyalty and trust. Knowing who your audience is, what they care about, and how they respond to different messages helps you craft an identity that resonates with them. This identity should evoke feelings of comfort, familiarity, delight, satisfaction, and joy every time someone interacts with your brand.

Every touchpoint should be infused with your brand’s personality so that it’s instantly recognizable no matter where you find it. Your core values should be evident in all aspects of your communication - from the visuals to the language used - as they are essential to creating an emotional connection with your customers.

In short, Brand Heart is more than just a logo or slogan; it’s an expression of emotion that creates lasting connections between brands and their customers.

Importance of Brand Heart

Brand essence is the heart of a brand. Without it, your company can struggle to make key decisions and customers may not understand what the brand stands for or values. However, with a clearly defined brand essence, businesses can create values, define a mission statement, write taglines, and design products that truly resonate with their target audience.

By tapping into this brand heart and connecting with customers on an emotional level, brands can build stronger relationships and even lifelong loyalty. In today's competitive market, having a strong brand essence helps companies stand out from their competitors and remain at the forefront of their customer's minds.

Having a clear brand essence also serves as a North Star when making marketing decisions – informing everything from designs to content creation to advertising campaigns. When done well, these efforts help foster meaningful connections between brands and their customers that are strong enough to last over time.

1. Better Marketing

Brand heart elevates a brand beyond its functional benefits, generating demand through the story it weaves around its products or services. Customers are more likely to purchase from a brand when they understand what it stands for.

2. Appeal To Higher Expectations

Brand heart fosters emotional connections with customers, helping to differentiate brands beyond the price and meet customers' heightened emotional expectations. In today's brand wars, a strong brand essence can make all the difference in building loyal, long-term relationships with customers.

3. Maintain Consistency

By aligning with the brand's vision, mission, and business goals, brand essence reinforces consistent brand identity, experience, and feeling for customers. A Brand heart helps to maintain trust and loyalty over time, ensuring that customers know what to expect from the brand.

Strategies for finding your brand essence

While the brand heart is crucial in branding and marketing, defining it can be challenging. The most effective brand essence examples strike a balance between your company's authentic qualities and the aspirational elements you aim to embody in the future.

To discover your brand heart and create guidelines for your company, seek input from internal and external sources. Your team members and stakeholders can provide insights into what your business means to the world, while branding experts can help you develop a strategy for the future.

However, getting the creative process started can be the most challenging step.

Here are some tips to kickstart your brand essence development process:

1. Go back to the beginning

Starting from the beginning can help you discover your brand's essence. Some companies create their brand essence statement as part of a complete brand-building strategy, while others may overlook it in favor of other tasks like logo creation or website building.

Regardless, it's essential to go back to the beginning and examine what motivated you to launch your product or service and what you felt was your ultimate purpose as a brand.

If you're having trouble finding inspiration, consider creating a brand documentary filled with stories from people around your company. These different perspectives on how your business began can provide valuable insights into what kind of organization you're running.

By looking back at your roots, you can rediscover the essence of your brand and use it to guide your future efforts.

2. Consider how other people see you

How you describe your business and how others perceive it may not always align. Though it is not ideal to let clients and competitors define your brand, it can be beneficial to listen to external opinions to gain insights into how your brand is perceived in the current market.

Additionally, a brief audit can help you identify any characteristics that may not be aligned with your desired brand image.

One effective way to conduct a comprehensive audit is to imagine that you are writing an obituary for your business. Create a list of all the things that people would say about your brand if it were a person that had passed away, and look for trends. This approach helps you view your brand through the eyes of an outsider, providing you with a clearer perspective of your brand identity.

After you've completed your obituary exercise, compare the list of qualities that you've identified with your intended brand image. You can use this comparison to identify any areas of disconnect between how you perceive your brand and how others perceive it.

Additionally, it can help you understand what you need to do to align the two perspectives.

3. Work outwards from your points of differentiation

To define your brand heart, it's essential to understand what sets your company apart from the competition. Knowing your unique value proposition can help you refine your brand and make it stand out in the marketplace. One way to determine your company's unique qualities is to examine your competitors and determine what your business can provide that it can't.

A useful tool for differentiation is the "BARATA" formula, which stands for benefits, attributes, roles, attitudes, territory, and awareness. By examining each of these elements, you can identify what sets your business apart and why those differences are valuable. It's essential to keep in mind that being unique doesn't necessarily mean being desirable or appealing. You must consider the practical benefits of your unique qualities and how they contribute to your overall brand story.

Once you've identified what sets your business apart, it's essential to communicate that message effectively to your target audience. Your brand essence should convey the unique qualities that differentiate your company from the competition and provide value to your customers. This messaging should be consistent across all marketing channels, from your website to your social media accounts, to ensure that your brand story resonates with your audience.

4. Get technical

To define the complex and intangible concept of brand essence, technical expertise may be necessary. Partnering with a branding company, such as Brandesis, can provide you with access to professionals who are experienced with brand archetypes and mission statements.

A technical assessment of your brand can reveal previously unnoticed aspects of your identity. Engaging with the intricate process of building a successful business can help you recognize where your company is excelling. You can also identify areas in your brand essence that require improvement or development to help you achieve your objectives.

By working with branding experts, you can establish a clear understanding of your brand and its place in the market. This level of insight can help you create a brand essence statement that accurately conveys your unique value proposition to your target audience.

Brand Essence Framework

To create a brand heart that captures your company and resonates with customers, there are several elements to consider. It's important to strike a balance between authenticity and aspiration to build trust and an emotional connection with your audience.

Make it relevant – One important aspect is relevance. Your brand heart should reflect the feeling or attitude that customers desire. For example, Apple used the rise of personal computers to introduce its "Think Different" attitude and compete against Microsoft by targeting young contrarians.

Make it timeless – Timelessness is another key factor. Your brand essence should be relevant both now and in the future, and it's not something you want to change often since it's the core of your company's identity. If Jeep suddenly changed its essence from "Adventurous" to "Luxury," it could confuse buyers comparing the off-road SUV to a plush Lexus.

Make it memorable – Memorability is crucial too. People remember short, punchy messaging, like Nike's "Just do it." Your brand essence statement should be two to three words. According to branding experts Al and Laura Ries, "a brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus."

Make it distinct – Distinctiveness is also important. Your brand's uniqueness highlights how it's different from competitors. For instance, travelers who seek unique stays on Airbnb are not usually the same people who get elite status through the Hilton Honors program.

Make it believable – Authenticity is essential too. Your brand essence must be believable for customers to trust it and spend their money on it. If Disney didn't consistently deliver magical experiences, people would doubt the brand's "magical" essence. You can earn people's trust by keeping all brand touchpoints consistent, so the essence is always clear.

Although it's not an easy task, shaping a strong brand essence is worth the effort to build a reputable brand. Once you distill your company's core down to its most basic essence elements, you can define your brand identity, make quick brand decisions, and build customers' trust.

6 Brand Essence Examples

Identifying a brand's heart can be challenging, as it goes beyond catchy taglines or logos. By examining the following examples of brand essence statements, try to connect the company's values to its marketing efforts, visual identity, and products.

Dyson: "Efficiency" 

Efficiency is at the heart of Dyson's brand identity. As the company that pioneered the first bagless vacuum, Dyson's line of vacuums, hand dryers, hair care, lighting, and air cleaners are all designed to make customers' lives more efficient by eliminating cords and bags and consolidating multiple products into one.

Apple – "Think Different"

Apple's brand heart revolves around simplicity. By thinking differently, Apple aims to make its customers' lives easier by providing them with access to the latest technology that is user-friendly. The company's commitment to making cutting-edge technology easy to use is what sets it apart from competitors.

Apple Think different with Albert Einstein

BMW – "Sheer Driving Pleasure"

BMW's brand heart is centered on driving pleasure. The company recognizes that design is the most significant reason for its customers' purchase, and it ensures that customers see BMW as a brand that prioritizes elegant design and provides the genuine driving pleasure that a luxurious car should offer.

Coca-Cola – "Sharing and Happiness" 

Coca-Cola positions itself as an essential part of happy experiences, with its brand heart focused on sharing and happiness. Unlike other brands that emphasize refreshment and satisfaction, Coca-Cola aims to be part of the moment and the memories created during those moments.

Adobe: "Creativity for All" 

Adobe's brand heart is "Creativity for All," with creativity as the core of every product and campaign. This brand identity has helped Adobe become a top choice for creatives, from product and web designers to artists. The brand's identity unites people looking for design software by focusing on creativity.

Airbnb: "Belong anywhere" 

Airbnb's brand essence centers around creating a sense of belonging and community. The company's unique accommodations and focus on local experiences reflect this essence, providing travelers with a sense of connection and belonging.

Harley-Davidson: "Freedom and individuality"

Harley-Davidson's brand heart is freedom and individuality, reflected in its iconic motorcycles and rebellious image. The company's brand identity centers on the concept of the individuality and the freedom that comes with owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

While creating a strong brand essence is crucial, it takes effort to develop one. The guidelines below can help you get started.

Discover the heart of your brand

Brand Heart is the essence of a brand that goes beyond its products or services. It reflects the brand's personality, values, and purpose, which connect with its customers on a deeper emotional level.

Developing a strong brand heart requires a thorough understanding of your target audience, defining your brand's personality, and crafting a clear brand story. It takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it as it builds brand loyalty and differentiation in a crowded market.

Ultimately, the brand heart is the complete story of your company. Your essence outlines your origins, the message of your business, and the goals you aspire to achieve.

If you're looking to develop or strengthen your brand's heart, The Brand Shop is here to help. Our team of experts can guide you through the process and craft a clear and compelling brand strategy that resonates with your customers.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and take the first step towards creating a brand with heart.

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Tumisang Bogwasi

Tumisang Bogwasi, a 2X award-winning entrepreneur and is the founder of The Brand Shop, specializing in innovative branding strategies that empower businesses to stand out. Outside work, he enjoys community engagement and outdoor adventures.